Can the law cope with libel online?

CIPR’s Profile Extra has an interesting article on libel online. Jo Sanders highlights a recent case where a court ordered Tracey Williams to pay £10,000 for falsely alleging that former United Kingdom Independence Party parliamentary candidate Michael Keith-Smith was a Nazi, in her anonymous contributions to an internet discussion group.

But I am not convinced by how easy the article makes it sound to actually identify the person responsible for anonymous attacks.

With so many free blog, chat and forum sites it is unlikely that credit card details can be used to track down culprits. Even an ISP address is pretty easy to hide – take a look at Torpark. That doesn’t mean with persistence it isn’t possible to track an anonymous attacker down, but it isn’t that easy and will be harder and harder if the numbers multiply.

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Stuart Bruce

International Public Relations Adviser | Trainer | Author | Media Commentator | Conference Speaker | University Lecturer | Online PR | Digital Corporate Communications | Crisis Communications | Digital Public Affairs